Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


ESPN ranks 49ers No. 26 in financial commitment to their quarterback

Jun 1, 2020 at 10:38 AM--


Last year, ESPN writer Dan Graziano ranked the San Francisco 49ers at No. 17 when it comes to NFL teams' financial commitment to their quarterback. For the Niners, that would be Jimmy Garoppolo, who is signed through the 2022 season after signing a five-year deal worth up to $137.5 million in 2018.

San Francisco had an out on Garoppolo's contract, but the coming and going of an April 1 deadline made most of his salary for the upcoming season fully guaranteed.

Graziano went ahead and did a similar ranking this year, putting the list together based solely on each team's financial commitment to its starting quarterback and how easy it would be for each organization to part ways with the player. How did the 49ers compare to last year's ranking? They actually fell to No. 26.

The Los Angeles Rams came in at No. 1 because they are pretty financially married to quarterback Jared Goff. He is guaranteed $73 million over the next three years, according to ESPN.

Garoppolo, on the other hand, is essentially going year to year at this point. That means the 49ers could part ways with him after any season, and the impact would be minimal compared to the salary he is due. That also makes each year a "prove-it" season, as Graziano calls it.

"It sounds crazy to call it 'prove-it time' for a quarterback who's 21-6 as an NFL starter and just played in the Super Bowl," writes Graziano. "But the fact is the way the 49ers structure their contracts, everyone is always in prove-it time."

Graziano notes that the dead-money cap hit from cutting Garoppolo after the 2020 season would be just $2.8 million.

Of course, the 49ers showed some level of commitment to Garoppolo when they looked into the possibility of signing future Hall of Famer Tom Brady but decided that sticking with their current starter was the smarter course of action. Some will argue that the fact that team decision-makers even looked into the possibility of swapping out Garoppolo for an older Brady shows that they might not be all-in on Garoppolo.

General manager John Lynch in April discussed the 49ers research into Brady, and how it led to he and head coach Kyle Shanahan trusting that the team already had a quarterback with which it could win.

"And the cool things is," Lynch said, "kind of at the same time, we both looked at each other and said, 'You know what? We've got what we believe to be the long-term answer in our building right now.' We felt like it was our duty to take a quick look at Tom, and this was nothing to disparage him, but that's not going to be a long-term answer.

"We figured we did what we think was the responsible thing to do. We took a good look, but the answer is right here in our building. And I think the coolest thing for us is we come out of that more convicted in who Jimmy Garoppolo is, and what he means to this team, than ever before."

In his first full NFL season as a starter last year, Garoppolo completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a passer rating of 102.0.

H/t to Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area for the find.





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